1. How did you get started writing?
I can barely remember not writing. In grade school, I was transfixed by Carl Sagan’s original Cosmos show (1980), and I wanted to pass on information like that to kids my age. So, I did the obvious thing and set out to write an astronomy book, complete with months of research across multiple libraries. By sixth grade, I was writing long-form stories, and by early college I was hard at work gathering rejection slips. After seven years of that, I discovered that writing for computer magazines paid A LOT better, and thus my Jekyll/Hyde writing life was born.
2. Out of all your books, which one is your favourite and why?
You mean from my VAST backlist? So far, my first novel, Winston Chase and the Alpha Machine, remains my favorite. The initial idea developed when my then-eight-year-old son and I were training for a half marathon, and we had a lot of walking hours to fill. The protagonist is 14, and it offers something of a snapshot for me of how my kids were at that time. It’s filled with laughs and suspense and learning, all the ingredients I enjoy in a classic adventure.
3. If your friends were asked to describe you in one word, what would it be?
“Stubborn.” –fellow Hellcat Nicole Grotepas
4. What is your favorite thing to do outside of writing?
There are things outside of writing? (Kidding. I love hanging out and doing things with my wife of 24 years.)
5. What do you love most about the genre you write?
Tackling huge “what if” questions and finding the threads of humanity that remain constant across all challenges.
6. What do you want readers to take from your books?
The typos. I didn’t want those there in the first place.
7. Describe yourself in 3 words.
Demanding, devoted, and down-to-earth. (My wife said “sensible,” but…alliteration.)
8. What made you decide to write in your current genre?
I enjoy writing across most speculative fiction genres…which is a dumb move when you’re trying to develop a brand. Still, I love stories that are 80% grounded in the real world and then throw a big 20% wrench into reality. Like, what if this ordinary family found that it had adopted a hellcat? How does that reshape their reality? What does it mean to them? And what does that meaning have to do with the reader? It’s like ripples spreading outward, and the stone that gets thrown is that fantastic what-if question. Things like that energize me and set my imagination on fire in ways that ordinary, slice-of-life situations just don’t.
9. Tell us about your current release/or new release?
I recently completed my young adult sci-fi trilogy, the Winston Chase series. The core story will be familiar: ordinary boy finds he has special abilities and gets thrust down a path of clues on a quest to save the world. But it’s also an immensely fun, all-ages buddy adventure brimming with loads of real-life settings, a little young romance, alien tech, desperate chases, and more than a bit of fascinating history.
10. What does your writing space look like?
Captured with a macro lens, it looks great. Nuff said.
11. What’s the one piece of technology you can’t live without?
My laptop. That’s where the creation happens. All the other devices focus on consumption and distraction.
12. Do you find it hard to kill off your characters?
Depends on the weapon.
13. How much of your characters are based on your traits or someone you know personally?
They all contain facets of me, especially the antagonists, and many contain aspects of others around me. But those are just jumping-off points. By the time I’m halfway through a book, characters have taken on their own identities.
14. What are you working on now? Can you share a teaser of it with our readers?
I’m working on a sci-fi trilogy with Brandon Ellis called “Extinction’s Edge.” It’s a near-future, time-traveling, alien invasion, do-or-die adventure with a few twists and a lot of heart. We expect to have that out in 2021. Immediately following the trilogy, I’m diving into an 11-book epic fantasy series collaboration that’s been under research, world-building, and outlining for nearly a decade. We have eight of the 11 completely outlined, and the other three will be wrapped up by the time Extinction’s Edge finishes. If you love classic, vast, Tolkien-type fantasy told with modern pacing and developed characters, you’re gonna devour this.
15. Is there one genre that you have not written in yet, but would love to try writing?
Nah. The story has always mattered more to me than the genre. If it electrifies my brain or punches me in the gut, then it’s for me.
16. What do you do when a flash of inspiration hits you at an inopportune moment?
Usually, nothing. If it’s quick and easy, I’ll jot a quick voice note into my phone, but ideas are cheap and easy. They’re scattered everywhere like dust bunnies. (No offense to the admirably fastidious.) Sitting down every morning for two hours, no matter the family or work distractions…that’s hard. But if I keep the daily discipline, then the ideas come easily. Also, there’s no need to be precious about inspiration. Plenty of fish in the creative sea.
17. What keeps you going while writing?
Coffee and desperation. I let myself be distracted from fiction for too many years — the lure of money, raising a family. All the usual suspects. Now deep into middle age, I hear the clock ticking more loudly. There are too many amazing stories to write and never enough time. Also never enough coffee.
18. Where can we find you on the internet?